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Australian universities are in quite the pickle. Not only are they watching as potentially $12bn in revenue from foreign student fees slips away, but they are also being accused of racism by the country they rely on for so much of their funding. Last week, Beijing issued a statement in which it warned Chinese students to give Australian universities a wide berth because of both COVID-19 and endemic racism.

In response to Scott Morrison’s suggestions that this amounts to “coercion”, Beijing has retaliated with the suggestion that Australia needs to do some “soul searching” and that the “racist incidents” were “based on a host of facts”.

This is a delicious irony. For years so many Australian universities have been making money out of the racism industry. Now they are on the back foot, having to defend themselves against an accusation that is demonstrably false.

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